The Sedalia Park Board met Thursday evening at the Heckart Community Center with two members absent – Kristy Woolery and Megan Simon. Jan Summers attended by speaker phone.

Parks & Rec Executive Director Amy Epple gave the board an update on the Heckart, which included the leadup to March 18, the one-year anniversary of the Heckart.

“That's pretty exciting, I feel like we've kind of got everything going smoothly now, so we're excited to celebrate that one year,” Epple said. “We'll be doing prizes and giveaways throughout the week. If you come in and buy a membership, we'll have prizes that we give away, and then on the day of, we'll be giving away door prizes, like memberships, T-shirts, beach balls, lanyards, all kinds of fun swag.”

As far as general contractor Paric (KCMO), Epple said “we sent them their last paycheck, they are paid up, and finished with the 'punch list' … there's things now, warranty-wise now, that they did originally, so they're coming back to fix a couple things that we see under warranty that we want them to look at, or repair, but overall, the first step of construction, they have everything completed they were supposed to.”

Epple noted that there are three access points to the roof at the Heckart. One is outside at ground level, and the other two are inside. One of those inside access points needs improvements to make it safer for staff, maintenance and contractors when they need to access the roof. Epple explained that the roof is part of a weekly checklist for maintenance personnel. In addition, roof access is needed when hanging Christmas lights and taking them down, from November through February.

“You always want to make sure you're taking care of your staff. Safety is always first, and that's for both customers and staff. The access point is very steep and narrow, Epple noted. The cost of that project is estimated at around $16,000.

Epple wants to add on to the area where chemicals are stored. “It's just not a welcoming environment, and we know that with chemicals that happens, but with us, again it comes down to safety, and taking care of our staff,” Epple said of that area, “and there's a solution to making that better.”

Plans call for Public Works to do some grading, add some gravel, and improve the parking situation north of the Heckart, “because we need it,” Epple said of the very popular and busy Heckart Center, where members and staff are coming and going constantly all day long.

The City of Sedalia held a job fair with open interviews from 9 to 3 on Thursday. Apparently, it was quite successful, with close to 80 interested parties seeking employment. Epple noted that around 10 people were hired on the spot, and the rest of the applications are being reviewed.

Parks Superintendent Jeff Coleman was in charge of searching for eligible people to hire for Parks & Rec, and Epple said that he has a list of applicants, so that hopefully 10 to 20 more people may be hired to fill some empty positions.

Parks & Rec's annual Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for 10 a.m., at Liberty Park for ages 0-10. The Easter Bunny will be there immediately following the egg hunt.

Also, Sedalia Parks & Rec and the Sedalia Animal Shelter will offer an event at Clover Dell called “Paws In The Park Dog Bone Egg Hunt at 6 p.m. Monday, April 3.

The dog park will close at 4 p.m. Monday for staff to prepare the area for the event. All dogs must be up to date on their shots and friendly towards other dogs, it was noted. Photos with the Easter Bunny will be available. Donations are appreciated, and items needed by the animal shelter includes bleach, paper towels, trash bags, and laundry detergent.

And on Thursday, April 6, there will be a Tween Flashlight Egg Hunt at Clover Dell Park starting around 8:30 (after sunset). You must register by March 30 and bring your own flashlight and bag. The event is designed for ages 8-14 and costs $15 per child. There is a maximum of 150 participants allowed at the event.

High schools and SFCC are now practicing and playing at Liberty Park Stadium and Centennial Park softball fields. And Youth Baseball practices will start April 3 for K-9. Games are held in May and June.

Although it's free to use the walking track at the Heckart, “we still want them checking in” Epple said, adding that the Center will be offering a “walker's card” similar to a membership card, but only valid for walking at the Heckart, that can be scanned when they enter the building. The card will be slightly different than the look of a membership card, so there's no confusion.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the Sedalia Park Board approved a new budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24, with very little discussion.

“We do a good job of balancing our budget and staying within our means, so a lot of times, there's not a whole lot of discussion. The one thing for us, is we've been putting money into reserves, because we had a pickup truck that we ordered out of two fiscal years, and we paid it off out this budget, so it looks like we're off,” Epple explained. “So we're really not going into the red, the money was just put away to be spent next year.”

The Board approved a part-time sick leave policy. Part-time workers have to work at least 1,020 hours a year, or an average of 20 hours per week, to be eligible. The board felt that is fair and equal treatment.

There are over 130 part-time employees currently working at Parks & Rec, Epple said. If they quit, they will not be paid out in unused sick leave, she noted.

Out of three bids received to buy a new locomotive for the Liberty Park Flyer, which has been out of commission since last season, the Park Board chose the cheapest option, which was around $70,000, submitted by Swanee River Railroad Company, based out of Lufffin, Texas. The price includes delivery, which unfortunately won't happen for another year.

A local bid of $151,437 was received, as was another bid that came in at $220,500.

The cost to repair the old engine was estimated at around $100,000.

The Sedalia Park Board will meet again April 13. The public is invited to attend.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

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